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Updated: Toyota sets new record as Hilux, Starlet undergo Smokin Hills test drive



Although Toyota is a household name and a leading auto brand, it is often seen to shy away from test drive, especially in Nigeria.

But that notion no longer holds sway as Toyota Nigeria Limited last weekend released two of its models, the Hilux and all-new Starlet, for a comprehensive test drive at Ilara-Mokin, the hometown of the company’s chairman, Chief Michael Ade.Ojo, which is some 20-minute drive from Akure, Ondo State capital.

While the new generation Starlet, launched in Lagos some days earlier, was taken through an on-road race course, where the vehicle was indeed ‘flogged’ and made to undertake a lot of cornering, speeding through bumpy and flooded terrains, the Hilux went through a deeper off-road exposure of hilly, sloppy, rocky and muddy terrains where kids are strictly disallowed from riding along.

It was a two-day event with each model having a separate day and professional race drivers had the task of taking Toyota customers and enthusiasts including journalists through the terrains a number of times so they could have a total experience.

Some daring, experienced and brave drivers, including Newstrends editor also had time to drive the vehicles along the Smokin Hills race course.

Managing Director, Toyota Nigeria, Mr Kunle Ade-Ojo, represented at the event by the Head of Marketing at the TNL, Mr Andrew Ajuyah, said the main objective of releasing the Starlet for the test drive was to bring the vehicle to the doorsteps of customers, “offering you the opportunity to interact with the vehicle, get familiar with its features, ask questions as it relates to the vehicle and have a fun-filled day with us.”

He also said, “It is the latest on the stable of Toyota (Nigeria) Limited and the Starlet is a true Star in every sense of the word. It is a mini-subcompact SUV imbued with the Toyota DNA of quality, durability, reliability and style.”

Speaking on the Hilux Fleet Day, the TNL boss explained why the vehicle (Hilux) is described as a workhorse and a darling of many Nigerians.

He said, “The Hilux as you all know is a workhorse. This apt description of the Hilux is based on the fact that the vehicle responds to the dictates of the road no matter how rough. It glides as it takes on some of the most challenging terrains headlong.  Indeed, the vehicle which is also described as Beyond Tough for its mastery of inclement terrains stands above its peers in that segment. Little wonder it is the darling of many Nigerians.”

Marketing Manager, TNL, Mr Bayo Olawoyin, provided the detailed features of the 1.4 litre Starlet and the 2.7-litre Hilux released for the test drive on Friday and Saturday respectively.

A prominent professional racer at the event, Argo Raak, who noted that it was his first time of driving the Starlet, described it as a fantastic car for city cruise, adding, “It may not be advisable to take it for state-to-state trips for now; Hilux is ideal for that. It is not that the car cannot do it but not really ideal for a rough terrain.

He also spoke on the performance and quality of the Starlet, saying, “The best quality of the car is its fuel economy. I also enjoy the handling; it’s very soft and enhances the driving.

“It is one of the rare cars that give you an opportunity to view everywhere and everything when you are around the steering; no blind spot and I can press all the buttons. It is a car for me and my madam; it can go places where my truck cannot go.”

Angela Idiong, Business Development Manager at RT Briscoe, commenting on the Hilux performance at the event said, “The vehicle is rugged and one can use it for private family ride (on road) or official taking it to project sites (off road). Even in remotest place, Hilux will go there and pull through. Its parts are available and easy to fix should it break down. Its fuel efficiency is also superb.

“It’s a vehicle that you can easily find a good buyer even after using it for 25 years.”

Adeoye Ojuoko, founder of Work and Play (motorsport), who is the brain behind the test drive project, said the event was sponsored by Toyota Nigeria Limited.

He noted that Hilux test drive had shown how people could engage the two-wheel drive or L2 to do a lot more than they thought.

Ojuoko also spoke on the choice of Ilara-Mokin for the event.

He said, “We are doing off-road rally at the Smokin Hill, Ilara-Mokin because of the terrain and we are building track there with the support of Chief Ade.Ojo.

“We are trying to look at the idea of creating a good environment for motorsport events as well as test drives. “One major thing the automobile industry in Nigeria lacks is an avenue or a centre to compare the performance of different brands of vehicles.”

He expressed optimism that the event would spur other automakers and dealers to take part in future motorsport programmes.

“What we are doing is not for Toyota alone; what we have built is for other brands and dealerships too. They will be given the opportunity for their customers to test drive available and new vehicles and engage them well in what they are doing,” Ojuoko said.

He said he was satisfied with the outcome of the programme, which attracted visitors from Ondo, Lagos and Abuja, among others.

“It has become a passion for me; it started from my hometown, Ilara-Mokin with the support of Chief Ade-Ojo; and it is growing,” he said.


Abuja motor show holds November 15-20



November 15-20 2021 has been fixed for the 21st edition of the Abuja International Motor Show.

The fair, according to BKG Exhibitions Limited, the organizers of the annual Abuja and Lagos motor shows, will be holding at the International Conference Centre Annex, Abuja.

Chairman of the organising committee for the event, Mr Ifeanyichukwu Agwu, said many existing and new auto assemblers as well as dealers of new automobiles would display their latest models at the fair.

He said this edition had been packaged to increase the attention of the government to the importance of urgently addressing the current challenges in the sector to use it to drive the national development programme as well as the auto gas policy of the government.

Agwu who is the Managing Director of BKG Exhibitions, is reported to have said “every effort has been deployed to ensure that the sector receives the needed support from both the government and the private sector to enhance its rapid development.

“We are packaging a show that will showcase all the existing and potential investment opportunities that abound in the Nigerian automobile industry, which we believe remains the best sector to invest in.”


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FG will release reviewed auto policy soon – Minister  



The Federal Government says it will release a reviewed auto policy before the end of the year.

Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo, stated this in Abuja recently while speaking with stakeholders.

The ‘meet the stakeholders’ forum’ was facilitated by BKG Exhibitions Limited at the minister’s office.

Adebayo said the government was working hard to put in place a workable auto policy before the end of 2021.

Responding to myriad challenges confronting the industry in Nigeria as raised by the team, the minister said, “I can assure you that we are not unaware of these problems and we have been doing our best to see how we can tackle these problems.

“I am sure you must be aware that at the moment; we are working on the auto policy and we are hopeful that before the end of this year we have an auto policy in place which will be presented to Federal Executive Council for approval.”

He further disclosed that the policy was part of discussions the Federal Government had with Original Equipment Manufacturers recently, assuring that the document would be out before end of the year.

Adebayo also said already the AfriExim Bank had accepted to fund the consultancy for the preparation of the policy.

He assured the BKG Exhibitions team led by the Managing Director, Mr Ifeanyichukwu Agwu of the ministry’s support.

The minister said, “The auto sector is a sector that our ministry is very interested in because we know that it portends a lot for the future of this country in terms of employment of our teeming youths; we will support its growth and development.”

He said the government was working hard to adequately address the challenges of the industry.

Earlier, the BKG MD had thanked the minister for granting them audience and giving a listening ear to the stakeholders in the industry.

According to him, the auto sector in Nigeria is very key to Nigeria’s economic development, stressing that it has the potential of huge employment generation and revenue earning through duties and other direct and indirect taxes.

Agwu said the inflation in the country could drop significantly through a thriving automotive sector.

According to him, Nigeria’s auto sector is huge and holds the highest number of auto brand representatives in Africa.

The BKG boss noted that countries such as Ghana are positioning to overtake Nigeria as the hub of the automotive market on the continent due to the Nigeria’s policy inconsistency and law backing policy of growing the industry.

Agwu said, “I don’t think that there is any country in Africa that has the number of auto brand representatives that Nigeria has, not even South Africa or Egypt. Yet, these people are selling to us.”

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Updated: Kia targets trendy young Nigerians with sophisticated, sporty Sonet, Seltos



The arrival of the two compact sport utility vehicles, the all-new Kia Sonet and the high-tech Kia Seltos may just be timely for those waiting for special vehicles to rock the end of the year known for festivities and unique automobiles.

The two Kia models assembled in Nigeria were unveiled in Lagos last Friday to the motoring journalists are expected to significantly raise the market share of the Kia brand in the compact SUV segment, which is fast becoming the toast of many new car buyers globally including Nigeria, especially young trendy people.

The Sonet

Kia says the bold compact Sonet now available for customers in Nigeria has been developed ground-up to set new benchmarks in design, technology, dynamics and safety.

According to the firm, the vehicle offers first-in-class six-speed automatic, alongside a wide choice of powertrains

“The urban and athletic Sonet has arrived in Nigeria and poised to revolutionise the sub-compact SUV segment. Designed to be bold and unforgettable, the Sonet boasts of key features that place it in a league of its own within the compact SUV segment,” says Kia’s Marketing Manager, Olawale Jimoh.

Specifically, he says the Sonet coming with multiple powertrain options has impressive features encapsulated in a modern exterior and incorporates the Kia’s DNA of emotive styling along with a premium appeal creating a strong presence on the road.

The Sonet is said to provide comfort, convenience and safety as it has been fitted with the largest and the best in class 10.25-inch (26.03 cm) HD and it comes with other smart features such as multi-drive and traction modes, and grip control for automatic models.

Designed around the driver with a well laid-out, intuitive infotainment and cluster interface, the Sonet was built taking into consideration the end user’s experience, harbouring functional qualities in every inch of its ergonomic space, says Kia.

Managing Director/CEO, Kia Nigeria, Jacky Hathiramani, says, “Kia has manufactured a vision inspired by our young, ingenious customers who crave simplicity and seamlessness in their lives.

“The Sonet delivers on features that are simply not found in models belonging to the same compact SUV category. Packed with first-in-class, purposeful features and technologies. Our Nigeria customers will find in the Sonet a smart companion to navigate the needs of life.”

For the engine, Kia says with an efficiently petrol-powered engine, Kia Sonet offers its 1.5-litre MPI engine with the six-speed automatic transmission.

For safety, the firm says more than two-thirds of the Sonet’s body consists of high strength and advanced high strength steel, which creates a robust yet lightweight structure.

Kia says it has ensured that every drive with the Sonet is as hassle free and safe as possible, with a rigorous set of measures created in line with the automaker’s pillars of safety.

The Sonet will be available in a dual trim concept that includes a sporty GT-Line trim. Enhancing the Sonet’s athletic and energetic appeal, the GT-Line models offer sportiness both inside and out. Customers looking for a sharp, dynamic road presence have the choice to opt for this trim.



Seltos: Combining sophistication, comfort, efficiency

Kia says the new Seltos is one of the most high-tech cars in its class with a range of in-car features.

It is described as a technologically advanced and refined compact SUV equipped with a range of market and world-first features and designed to make driving safer and less stressful.

“The new Kia Seltos brings sophistication, assertiveness and cutting-edge technology and safety features to the global compact SUV segment,” says the Kia Nigeria

It adds, “The Seltos is characterised by distinctive design details, lending the compact SUV an air of understated sportiness. It combines forward-looking technical features, class-leading space and a suite of world-class safety features, and is powered by a choice of highly-efficient Smartstream petrol and diesel engines.”

Kia Nigeria MD/CEO, Hathiramani, speaks on the new SUV, saying, “The Seltos is an important car for Kia as it will play a central role in the expansion of our footprints, and especially in a priority market like Nigeria.

“We’ve adapted our strengths in design, quality and technology to fulfil the needs of customers in the Nigerian market. Seltos is aimed at youthful, tech-savvy buyers and is packed full of our most cutting-edge technology and safety equipment.”

Looking at its exterior design, this easily reveals the Seltos’ sporty and sophisticated nature through its long hood, a strong, character line on the front bumper, and sharp lines pressed into the bodywork.

It also sports a wide ‘tiger nose grille’, making the car instantly recognizable as a Kia, but with a difference.

The rear bumper with a metallic muffler effect accentuates this dynamic appearance.

For the interior design, the Seltos is designed with high quality, futuristic materials. With a target at youthful, tech-savvy buyers, the cabin is characterized by broad, sweeping shapes and highly technical details. Equipped with a range of technologies to maximize convenience, connectivity and ease of use, the bold design of the cabin incorporates a 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system.

The vehicle comes with the lounge-like and spacious interior and houses 8.0-inch head-up display system which unobtrusively projects relevant driving information on to a small-glass panel behind the steering wheel – such as turn-by-turn navigation directions and vehicle speed information.

The Seltos is equipped with a range of newly developed third-generation powertrains for high efficiency and powerful performance. All powertrains are engineered with Kia’s Smartstream technology for improved fuel efficiency and lower emissions.

Kia showcases the vehicle and its 1.6-litre T-GDI turbocharged petrol engine, producing 177 PS.

It says other options are a 2.0-litre naturally aspirated petrol engine, producing 149 PS; and a 1.6-litre diesel engine, producing 136 PS.

For the Nigerian market, the Seltos will be offered with an automatic transmission options to suit customers’ needs and driving style – a six-speed automatic transmission (6AT) and a continuously variable transmission (CVT) .

The car’s 10.25-inch advanced infotainment system is said to be packed full of technology and gives advanced split-screen functionality. This allows users to control or monitor numerous vehicle features at the same time, and customize the screen to display up to three applications simultaneously.

The driver can choose to have a single display (such as navigation) or combine different elements on-screen.

The vehicle has a full range of advanced active safety systems to keep its occupants well protected on every journey.

For instance, the Seltos’ body is made up of a blend of steel and aluminium, maximising torsional rigidity while keeping body weight low.

The vehicle is fitted with six airbags, as well as a suite of electronic vehicle safety systems such as Kia’s Vehicle Stability Management system as standard, incorporating traction control and electronic stability control.

It is also fitted with an Anti-lock Braking System, a Traction Control System, a Brake-Force Assist System and Hill-start Assist Control, as well as front and rear parking sensors, for assistance when parking.


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